Friday, December 2, 2011
On a criticism of a presentation of poetry
In response to Helen Vendler's review "Are These the Poems to Remember?" (New York Review of Books, November 24, 2011), Rita Dove provided civil justifications for her choices in editing The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry. Dove's "Defending An Anthology" (New York Review of Books, December 22, 2011) was, however, not accorded equal civility by Vendler's curt reply: "I have written the review and I stand by it." Vendler owes Dove and the readers of NYRB more than a laconic sentence. On the other hand, given what Vendler said in her review about the Black Arts Movement and Amiri Baraka, I suspect that Vendler's teeth are cracked and her locution is reduced to a whisper.